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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I are doing some remodeling. While we are redoing the lighting, we wanted to look at getting a system that would let us control individual lights and configure presets for the room.


There are at least 13 lights in total that we want to control this way.


What systems should I be looking at for this?
 

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+1 for RadioRa2. Very powerful system. Wireless options. Plays nice with other automation systems if you're so inclined.


I'm not sure that any of the more consumer level solutions are really going to fit the bill for you. They're cool for controlling a couple lights here and there, but not for functionality like you're describing (scenes, presets etc.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What about HomeWorks QS?


Maybe I should have added that we have to gut all the existing electrics and replace with new stuff to get a permit for the remodel, so everything will be getting rewired.
 

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Lutron HomeWorks QS is the step up from RadioRA 2. It will cost more, and have more bells and whistles. QS offers both wireless and wired control options, while RA2 is only wireless. If a RA2 system is designed right (good, experienced installer), wired isn't needed.


You should reach out to Lutron to find a local QS installer to discuss. Search their website, or call Lutron Support 24/7/365.

This Lutron document compares RA2 and QS; somewhat technical, but you may find something useful.


QS has more design options for the dimmers and keypads, if that's your thing. Some very elegant options.


Edit - QS brochure
 

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I think Lutron RadioRa2 is your best choice. It is mostly a Wireless system, though there are keypads that require power and a couple other devices that can be wired. It has plenty of options though and wall plate colors, etc.


However, the Homeworks system is definitely a step up. You can wire 120v to the switches or use Low Voltage or a mix. And the programming is much more complicated, but allows for many many more options and automated features.


Another high end option that is comparable in price to the Homeworks product is Vantage's Infusion system. it's the one that I sell and install. It's just as bullet proof and has all the same options as the Homeworks system. I like how it wires into your home better than the Homeworks, plus it has a Home Automation platform that can control many other brands electronics built into it where Homeworks mostly only controls their products.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What are the fundamental differences between Vantage Infusion and Homeworks?


BTW, we are currently planning to go with all LED lighting, in case that makes any difference.


At least one difference is that the closest Vantage installer is 100 miles away and the closest Homeworks dealer is in town.
 

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Well, the distance from the closet dealer definitely will play a hand in your choice. There are definitely more Lutron dealers out there. Actually one of the reasons I became a Vantage Dealer. Both great products but much less competition.


For the record I do not know nearly as much about Homeworks as I do Vantage.


Vantage Infusion


Lighting and Home Automation Platform - Controls their own Lighting products, as well as other manufacturers Shading, Audio, Video, HVAC, and other electronic products via IR, RS-232, and IP.

Lighting Modules can be changed without the need for an Electrician (which is great for an integrator without an electrical license like myself - saves money and time for integrator and home owner).

Wiring for the low voltage switches is incredibly easy.

Some of their keypads have multicolor LEDs that let the installer/programmer do some unique things with them, such as brightness of LED being able to indicate a different scene being active or how bright the lights are or having the light change colors when turned on, off, etc.

Vantage RF wireless system has a 100ft radius. That's 100ft in every direction.

Equinox single gang 4" glass touchscreen is a great addition to (or replacement for the) keypads to control the lighting, shading, HVAC (or outside temp), and Music. They look amazing. They have a feature where you can program a scene or function to activate by just waving your hand in front of it. Great for turning the lights on when entering the room. and a hard button you could use to turn it off or whatever else you'd like.

Equinox 7" glass touchscreen adds other functionality like controlling and viewing cameras, controlling TVs and surround sound, full audio system control, etc.

Future Equinox 4" touchscreen will have similar functionality as the 7". Check out the Equinox on Vantage's website.

You can use 3rd Party (as well as Vantage's) sensors for functionality. Such as Light sensors, temp sensors, vacancy/occupancy sensors, door sensors, etc to automatically activate lights, scenes, or use them to change the scenes that you have programmed into keypad buttons. Basically do whatever you want.



Lutron Homeworks

Lighting, shading, and Hvac products. Cannot (as far as i know) control 3rd party products. You are basically stuck using all Lutron (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, just limiting.)

Lutron has better integration with Home Control systems. Vantage has integration with control systems as well, but Lutron definitely has leg up there.

Lutron definitely has a wider array of color options for their keypads than Vantage, but both have the main ones, as well as a number of others.

Not sure if Lutron's keypads have the multicolor LED option (doesn't seem like a big deal, but it's kind of cool what you can do with them (as well as a designers dream to customize)

Wireless system only has a 30ft radius which means a better chance that a 2nd and 3rd (or more if capable) wireless repeater will be necessary in a large home.

Lutron Does NOT have anything like the Equinox Touchscreens.

I'm not sure if you can use 3rd party sensors directly with Lutron Homeworks. That you would need to ask a Homeworks dealer.

Changing out Modules requires electrician. Wires need to be disconnected to remove module. (Vantage just requires flipping circuit breaker off then back on.)



Basically, both products are pretty bullet proof. Both have similar features. When I was at Vantage training a guy there who had been programming Lutron Homeworks for years said that the Homeworks programming platform was easier to program with, but the Vantage platform was more powerful and flexible (then on top of that it can also control other products that Homeworks cannot.)



I'm hoping a Homeworks dealer will chip in with some features/benefits of that system! Then I may be able to compare to Vantage.
 
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AVI... where are you located?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I believe Lutron does allow some 3rd party integration. I think they have some way of working with 3rd party blinds, as an example.


I wish there was a Vantage dealer in the area. It would be nice to get a second opinion. Also very interested in how the cost of the systems would compare. The local Lutron dealer is saying the cost for just a RadioRA system is $600 for the brain, $300 for each zone and $200 for each control panel. He went on to say that a Homeworks system would be %20 more. For our project (20-30 zones and ~10 control panels) he recommended RadioRA. I really wish Lutron would give people access to the programming software. The guy roughly estimated that programming would cost $1000, which seems insane for a simple project.


I am considering scaling back the project to 2 Grafik Eye QS systems to cover the greatroom (1 in the kitchen and 1 for the living space) with the two units synced, so we can cover the 11 circuits that are planned. Scene 1 for full coverage, Scene 2 for taking advantage of daylight but filling in the areas that need it, Scene 3 for movies with nominal kitchen lighting, Scene 4 for romantic dinner. I was also told that the GE QS has sunrise/sunset timers and occupancy sensors to automatically turn the lights on or off. They also are available with IR receivers, so they can work with a Harmony remote. I think the 2 GE QS units would cost around $2000 in total.


We have a pretty accessible crawlspace and attic, so rewiring shouldn't be that big a pain if we need to switch which zone a light is in. I am pretty comfortable with that sort of thing.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by aviphysics  /t/1520658/systems-to-control-individual-lights-and-create-scenes#post_24454423


I believe Lutron does allow some 3rd party integration. I think they have some way of working with 3rd party blinds, as an example.


I wish there was a Vantage dealer in the area. It would be nice to get a second opinion. Also very interested in how the cost of the systems would compare. The local Lutron dealer is saying the cost for just a RadioRA system is $600 for the brain, $300 for each zone and $200 for each control panel. He went on to say that a Homeworks system would be %20 more. For our project (20-30 zones and ~10 control panels) he recommended RadioRA. I really wish Lutron would give people access to the programming software. The guy roughly estimated that programming would cost $1000, which seems insane for a simple project.


I am considering scaling back the project to 2 Grafik Eye QS systems to cover the greatroom (1 in the kitchen and 1 for the living space) with the two units synced, so we can cover the 11 circuits that are planned. Scene 1 for full coverage, Scene 2 for taking advantage of daylight but filling in the areas that need it, Scene 3 for movies with nominal kitchen lighting, Scene 4 for romantic dinner. I was also told that the GE QS has sunrise/sunset timers and occupancy sensors to automatically turn the lights on or off. They also are available with IR receivers, so they can work with a Harmony remote. I think the 2 GE QS units would cost around $2000 in total.


We have a pretty accessible crawlspace and attic, so rewiring shouldn't be that big a pain if we need to switch which zone a light is in. I am pretty comfortable with that sort of thing.


Lutron has amazing 3rd party integration, they also do blinds themselves!!! Lutron software is available to joe bloe who takes there online courses, I'd recommend you take the courses irregardless of wether you do the programming or not. I've yet to add lutron to the products I use but will be shortly. From your posts I'd say you've got some learning to do before you make a decision, I'm sorry if that sounds rude but this post is for your benefit:)
 

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It sounds like you have already covered much of this and has been discussed above.


This is how I proceed when designing a lighting control system


You have a couple fundamental options for the architecture of lighting control & integration.

1. Traditional-Wall box located dimmers/switches as you would in a normal configuration

2. Somewhere in the middle- Grafik Eye gives you some of the reduced wall clutter but are wired and located similar to a traditional set-up.

3. No more wall clutter-Remotely locate the loads to a central panel(s) with only keypads throughout the home

While it's possible to have a hybrid system comprising of all three types I would never recommend it as it becomes confusing and frustrating to use.


My preference and recommendation is always #3.

It is by far the most elegant and easy to use solution as you have consistency throughout the home.

Offers the most flexibility as the keypads can be programmed to control any light or combinations of lights.

You would also get all the benefits of a processor based system such as:

- an astronomical time clock that automatically tracks and adjusts for the varying sunrise & sunset. Perfect for set and forget exterior lights

- vacation mode records the last two weeks of activity and plays it back in real time

- integration with your security system. Away-turn off all the lights, Disarm-turn on key lights only after dusk, Fire-light a low level path to the exits and flash the exterior lights. Burglar or panic-turn on all the lights in the house and flash the exterior lights

- IP control for smart phone access inside or out of the home


Have you looked at Crestron?

It' offers tons of options, is competitively priced and it's rock solid.

They also have IMHO the best LED drivers.

The best part is that it's infinitely expandable, will integrate with anything that is controllable and can be the foundation of additional automation and integration.


Lutron is excellent but is limited really to lighting and shades. However it can be integrated into most control systems.

But now you have two different providers, two different processors, running vastly different code that need to be programmed independently in different applications.


Really in the end you can get nearly the same features and functions with any system.

The most critical aspect is who is providing the solution. Are they truly qualified and experienced? Do they have a reputation of a proven track record for delivering on promises? Do they have 24/7/365 support? Do they have lots of recent and past clients that you can talk to for references?

I work all over the planet and the things I see that have been done to people who have spent significant dollars would make you sick.

So be careful and do your due diligence.


I've been designing and installing lighting control systems in homes and commercial applications all the way back to the 1st Lutron NeTwork system in the early 90's.

If you have any additional questions, comments etc. post here or PM me and I'll try and help.
 

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I would talk with a different local Lutron RadioRA 2 installer. Ask a few.


Hiring someone to design and program, and hiring an electrician to install, would save some money, but would take more time and effort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad  /t/1520658/systems-to-control-individual-lights-and-create-scenes#post_24455089


I would talk with a different local Lutron RadioRA 2 installer. Ask a few.


Hiring someone to design and program, and hiring an electrician to install, would save some money, but would take more time and effort.

I only found one Lutron guy in town.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by knowinnothin  /t/1520658/systems-to-control-individual-lights-and-create-scenes#post_24454659


Lutron has amazing 3rd party integration, they also do blinds themselves!!! Lutron software is available to joe bloe who takes there online courses, I'd recommend you take the courses irregardless of wether you do the programming or not. I've yet to add lutron to the products I use but will be shortly. From your posts I'd say you've got some learning to do before you make a decision, I'm sorry if that sounds rude but this post is for your benefit:)

I know I am ill educated on this HA lighting stuff. It is kind of frustrating. Just trying to figure out what reasonable pricing looks like has been a PITA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by trans_lux  /t/1520658/systems-to-control-individual-lights-and-create-scenes#post_24455812


Here is Crestron dealer close by-I think.

No idea of their qualifications.
http://www.foothillsystems.net/

Give em a try what do you have to loose.

Thanks.


I will take a look. I think I have about a week, to make a decision. This week will be spent removing the old wiring, taking out a couple walls, and putting in some supporting beams.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I did some more searching for HA lighting companies in town and found a couple more that look like they supply Lutron.


However, they were not listed by the Lutron website. Is that something I should worry about at all?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by aviphysics  /t/1520658/systems-to-control-individual-lights-and-create-scenes#post_24455996


I did some more searching for HA lighting companies in town and found a couple more that look like they supply Lutron.


However, they were not listed by the Lutron website. Is that something I should worry about at all?

Possibly-if they are not listed its likely buy through a local distributor. Despite what they say you only need to fog a mirror and have a credit card to become a Lutron "dealer".

If your direct with Lutron you will listed on the website. This means that you had to go to fairly extensive training.

You also have access to products that are not available through distribution namely Homeworks.

Again it comes down to what I mentioned before-referrals, knowledge, expertise, support and service Etc.

The last thing you want to be is an experiment.
 
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